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$25m Contract Sets New Standard for Mental Health


Media Release
17 April 2000


$25m Contract Sets New Standard
for Community Mental Health Care


Richmond Fellowship, the national provider of mental health services, has signed a $25million contact with the HFA to provide community based services.

Fellowship chief executive, Dr Gerry Walmisley, said the agreement was the first national contract between the HFA and a non-governmental provider, and also the most innovative contract of its type.

“It really is a milestone in the way mental health services are purchased,” he said. “It provides the framework for an approach to community mental health care which is among the best in the world, by providing us with the flexibility to meet each client’s individual needs.

“We’re delighted to be a part of a mental health strategy which has been developed at a national level and takes into account the broader needs of people with mental illness, such as their right to employment and a proper home.

“It’s also a real vote of confidence for the NGO sector, which plays such an important role in the delivery of community based services.”

“Treating people as individuals and involving them fully in the management of their illness is the cornerstone of our philosophy, and this contract sets the platform for more innovation.”

Dr Walmisley said New Zealand’s expertise in community mental health services was internationally recognised. Earlier this month a visiting European mental health specialist, Dr Roberto Mezzini, commented on the “incredible richness” in services here. He said hospital services have neither the skills, understanding or experience to deliver services focussed on recovery and he highlighted the success of Italian mental health services achieved through partnerships with community organisations.

“We certainly hope that the changes that we are about to see in the health purchasing system, will build on the HFA’s achievements and utilise the considerable skill that has been developed,” Dr Walmisley said.

Ends

Further information: Dr Gerry Walmisley
Chief Executive
Richmond Fellowship New Zealand
Phone 366 5156

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